Nia: New Age Exercise I Can Get Into

Posted on January 2nd, 2005 in Health and Fitness by mynagirl

So, last year, my friend Libby met me for pedicures one Saturday morning and said that she’d just come from Nia class. I gave her a blank (and probably confused/skeptical) stare. “Hunh??” She, in turn, had that expression of one searching to explain a complex concept in only a few words. “It’s an exercise class, kinda like dance and martial arts.” I filed the word ‘Nia’ away under ‘martial arts’ in my head (only the last concept she’d said really stuck) and didn’t think any more about it — we proceeded on with our rare morning visit of pedicures and a girly kibbitz brunch.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Engineerboy and I are taking our normal drive to work, and I notice in a strip shopping center just off I-45 and Houston street, in bold red letters above one of the businesses:

Nia – Pilates – Yoga

NiaMoves.com

Hunh.

Eventually, after enough weeks of driving by this place, I think, ‘hunh’ again. I check out their website and realize that Nia seems to be a lot of dance and movement, and that this studio seems to have their act together (I love a well put-together website). I connect these facts in my brain with my orthopedic doctor telling me I have to do something 4-5 times a week to strengthen the core muscles in my spine and abdomen and think, well, maybe I should go check out this place.

Well, I love it! I’ve basically gone for two weeks now (I know, I should go more before writing a review, but the place and the exercise concept is really cool). I’ve gone to several Nia classes as well as a YoNia class, which combines Yoga and Nia. The classes are done barefoot on an immaculate wood floor, and the classes really place an emphasis on how you move your foot when you exercise — rolling your foot as you step and being very mindful of your movement. (Quick disclaimer here: I’m just giving you what I’ve learned from the classes as a student, so don’t assume my thoughts here can teach you about Nia as a concept or anything. I encourage you to go to an official Nia site to make sure I’m not misinterpreting anything.) In general they’re very low-impact, which is good for and my spine, but many of the movements are done in “levels”, so that they can be kept low for those who need to stay at a low impact or low workout level (me, most of the time) or ratcheted up for those who like to kick higher

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